VOICES Notes and news on Contemporary Jazz releases
12 SEP 11 JONATHAN WIDRAN
Though it peaked at #60 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Album chart, Miki Howard's seventh studio collection, Three Wishes -- which features tracks produced by Barry Eastmond and Howard's longtime associate LeMel Humes -- is her only set ever to receive a Grammy nomination.
Three Wishes was up for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Album in 2002. Although the collection was geared towards the R&B/pop crowd that she had cultivated since her breakthrough in the mid-'80s, one of the standout tracks is the haunting jazz-noir "Kiss Of A Stranger," which features Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip and former Weather Report drummer Alphonse Mouzon.
Howard's unique family history clearly helped shape her musical destiny. Born in Chicago, she grew up in church, where both her parents were gospel singers; her mom is Josephine Howard of The Caravans and her dad is Clay Graham of The Pilgrim Jubilees. Josephine would often take Miki to the homes of stars like Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples. Later living in Los Angeles, Miki grew up in a home frequently visited by everyone from Shirley Caesar to Billy Preston and Fats Domino.